The quarter finals and semifinals of the 9th Chunlan Cup were played on December 4 and 6, 2012, in Hangzhou, China.
Monks playing Go
Interestingly, despite the fact that it’s the middle of winter in China, the matches were played in what appears to be an unheated Buddhist temple.
Each time we’ve traveled to China, David has joked about wanting to find monks that play Go and I’ve always told him that, that was ridiculous.
While it wasn’t as exciting as doing it in person, he was still triumphant to prove me wrong!
Chinese fans had their fingers crossed for an all China final but Lee, with his “if I’m coming to play, I’m coming to win,” mentality, was too strong for Kong.
Chen won the all China semifinal, defeating Jiang.
This sets up a final between Lee Sedol and Chen Yaoye. Both players are currently ranked #1 (based on domestic performance) in their respective countries.
Chen Yaoye – The uncrowned king
Chen Yaoye is probably the strongest Chinese 9p who has yet to win an international tournament, other than some special international matches, such as the China Korea Tengen.
(Xie He 9p does give Chen a run for his money in terms of this dubious honor, though.)
Chen’s record in the Chinese domestic scene is impeccable – he’s held the Tianyuan (Tengen) since 2009 and he’s also won the China Korea Tengen in three out of the four years where he’s contested it.
A child prodigy, Chen became a pro at the age of 10, was runner up in the 10th LG Cup final at the age of 16 (losing to Gu Li) and broke a world record by becoming the youngest professional 9 dan (at the time) at the age of 17.
Had he defeated Gu in the 10th LG Cup final, he would’ve also become the youngest ever international champion, but international success has eluded him so far. Chen turns 23 on December 16, 2012. You can read more about Chen Yaoye here.
Lee Sedol – Defending champion
In contrast, Lee Sedol is just one international tournament win shy of a grand slam, having won all the major international tournaments other than the Ing Cup at least once.
The last time Lee and Chen faced each other in an international final was more than 5 years ago in the 2007 Asian TV Cup.
At that time, Lee took home the title and Chen took home a promotion to 9 dan for his efforts.
You may already be familiar with Lee’s stellar career, but you can read more about Lee Sedol here if you like.
The 9th Chunlan Cup finals
The finals will be played as a best of 3 match in early 2013.
The exact date for the finals hasn’t been confirmed at the time of writing, but details will be added to the Pro Go Calendar as soon as they’re available.
Stayed tuned to see if Chen can finally win his breakthrough international title.
The Chunlan Cup
The Chunlan Cup is sponsored by Chunlan Group, a Chinese conglomerate with interests in the air conditioning, domestic appliance, automotive, finance and alternative energy industries.
The tournament uses Chinese rules, with a komi of 7.5 points, and offers a prize of $150,000 USD to the winner.
9th Chunlan Cup photos
Download all 9th Chunlan Cup quarter final and semifinal games here.